Its cheers all round as former Ursuline girl becomes Minister
Sligos Ursuline College was this week toasting one of its former pupils who has become a Government Minister.The new Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, was a boarder at the Ursuline from 1978 to 1983, and former teachers and school pals wer
By Jim Gray
Sligo’s Ursuline College was this week toasting one of its former pupils who has become a Government Minister.
The new Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, was a boarder at the Ursuline from 1978 to 1983, and former teachers and school pals were this morning recalling her as a “charming girl” who was destined for the top.
And the new Minister hasn’t forgotten her alma mater, pledging this morning that she would make an official visit to her old school as soon as possible.
“I really enjoyed my days in the Ursuline”, Minister Coughlan told "The Sligo Champion".
“It was a pretty strict regime, but very enjoyable and I made many great friends, many of whom are still very close to me”.
Having already attended a past pupils re-union in recent years, she pledged that she would be delighted to make a return visit as Minister.
“I’d love to go back, and I’m sure I will as soon as the opportunity arises.
“I understand they’re looking for a school extension, so they’ll probably be in touch”, she quipped.
Sr. Mary Gilbride, who was Principal at the Ursuline during Minister Coughlan’s school days, described her as an excellent student who was always generous with her time and talent.
“She was always willing to undertake any chore, and you could see she was a very good communicator who would get on very well with people”, Sr. Mary said.
She recalled that the young Ms. Coughlan was a regular performer in the annual school opera and was also a keen badminton player.
One of her fellow Leaving Cert students, Frances McGowan, who is now a teacher herself, recalls that Mary was very popular with her fellow students.
“She was a lovely girl, who always seemed to be in good form. I remember her winning some award as the student of the year or something similar. She was always a bright spark”, recalls Frances.